the danger of television



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FOR AN ENTIRELY voluntary activity, television can be surprisingly destructive. That's why several organizations have come together to sponsor and promote TV Turnoff Week. The international effort has been motivated by statistics such as these:

1. On average, an American teen spends about 900 hours per year in school, but about 1500 hours per year watching television.

2. An average American child watches 30,000 commercials on TV every year. That is a significant amount of learning and indoctrination.

3. Four hours of Saturday morning cartoons will show 202 "junk food" ads to the young minds watching.

4. On average, by the time we've reached 65, we will have spent nearly 9 of our years watching television.

5. According to, "In the US and other industrialized nations around the world, screen time use continue to increase every year. The average daily usage for all screens, in some countries, has reached 9 hours per day. This is for recreational use of screens and does not include work time."

"On average, people watch 4 hours of television and then spend another 4 plus hours with computers, games, video, iPods and cell phones. According to Nielsen, the average World of Warcraft gamer plays for 892 minutes per week! The company that owns Second Life (a virtual world) claims that its users spent over 1 million hours on line. These statistics hold true for children directed sites as well, including Webkinz and others."

6. Parents spend an average of 39 minutes of meaningful conversation with their children per week. Children spend an average of 1680 minutes watching television per week.

7. Twelve large-scale studies show excessive TV watching increases the risk for obesity.

8. Watching television more than ten hours a week measurably impairs academic success.

9. When children between the ages of four and six were given the choice between watching television or spending time with their fathers, 54 percent of them chose television.

10. Watching TV displaces worthwhile and fulfilling activities — healthy, constructive, rewarding activities, things that we don't "have time for" such as these.

11. Watching news programs is especially destructive.

12. No waking activity burns fewer calories than watching television.

13. The more TV a child watches, the more they snack between meals and crave the advertised foods they see in commercials.

I invite you to learn more and then participate in TV Turnoff Week. Afterward, if you're motivated to watch less TV in general, use these ideas to help you change your TV habits.


Find out more on these websites:

The White Dot

Unplug Your Kids


Books for further reading:

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

Living Without the Screen: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television

Alternatives to TV Handbook

The Big Turnoff: Confessions of a TV-Addicted Mom Trying to Raise a TV-Free Kid

Amusing Ourselves to Death

Author: Adam Khan
author of the books, Self-Help Stuff That Works and Antivirus For Your Mind
and creator of the blog:
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